Cairo: Lebanese hospitals are struggling to cope with the heavy number of casualties resulting from the huge explosion at the Port of Beirut, medics said.
Tuesday’s blast in the capital killed at least 100 people and injured around 4,000 others, the Lebanese Red Cross said. The explosion also wreaked massive havoc that prompted the government to declare Beirut a disaster zone and appeal for international help.
Public Health Minister Hamad Hassan said Lebanon's health sector was short of beds and lacked the equipment necessary to treat the injured and care for patients in critical condition.
He said that "a large number of children" had been rescued but added that he feared that the number of dead would rise further.
The minister said that the government was "trying, as best we can, to bridge the gap resulting from the economic blockade and the exacerbated economic and financial crisis, to which has been added this new test and scourge as a result of the explosion".
Lebanon's Supreme Defence Council said those found responsible for the explosion would face the "maximum punishment" possible.
The city’s hospitals were inundated with the victims and some of them stopped to admit more casualties after their facilities were overstretched, according to Lebanese media.
Emergency medics in Al Makassed Hospital in Beirut had to treat the injured on the floor, Lebanese newspaper An Nahar quoted a witness as saying.
“There were corpses without heads and seriously injured people. The hospital has run out of supplies including medical gauze,” the angry witness added.
The injured have been transferred to different hospitals across Lebanon, Secretary-General of the Lebanese Red Cross George Kettaneh told An Nahar.
Hospitals are no longer capable of taking in more injured, he added.
An Nahar said 15 of its staff were injured in the blast.
Lebanese hospitals have appealed for blood donations to help those injured in the massive explosion.
Several countries have offered medical help to Lebanon in the aftermath of the explosion that came as the country of 6.8 million people is in the grip of an acute economic crisis.